Friday 20 September 2019

Explainer: What will happen if Dublin and Kerry's All-Ireland final replay ends in another draw?

Agony and ecstasy: Kerry and Dubs fans feel the stress in the final moments at Croke Park. Photo: Brendan Moran/Sportsfile
Agony and ecstasy: Kerry and Dubs fans feel the stress in the final moments at Croke Park. Photo: Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

Frank Roche

THIS year’s race for Sam Maguire will keep going to replays if Dublin and Kerry cannot be separated.

There is no rule book provision for a penalty shootout to decide the All-Ireland SFC title even in the unlikely event of a protracted stalemate such as the four-game Meath/Dublin saga of 1991.

This means that, in theory at least, Dublin/Kerry could extend to a second replay and beyond if these arch-rivals remain level after normal and extra-time when replay battle resumes in Croke Park on Saturday week (6pm).

‘Winner on the day’ regulations do not apply to All-Ireland senior finals, hence the theoretical possibility of a marathon extension to the inter-county season, with negative ramifications for the club championships in the capital and the Kingdom.

With this year’s introduction of a penalty shootout rule to decide certain deadlocked matches, including provincial replays and SFC qualifiers, there has been some confusion over how regulations might impact on Dublin/Kerry Mark 2. 

In response to a query from Independent.ie, Croke Park has outlined what would happen in the event of a prolonged All-Ireland stalemate.

  • If Saturday week’s replay is still level after normal-time (70 minutes) and then extra-time (two ten-minute periods), a second replay will be required.
  • It’s almost certain that this would take place a fortnight later, on September 28, to allow sufficient time for ticket distribution and also, presumably, out of fairness to the players. Saturday evening replays are the preferred option.
  • If parity again prevails in that second replay – after 70 minutes and a further 20 of extra-time – the battle for Sam will extend to a fourth day. 

For provincial replays that are still level after extra-time, there is provision for a second bout of extra-time (comprising two periods of five minutes) but this does not apply to All-Ireland finals.

In truth, the odds are still stacked against Dublin and Kerry being pushed to a third day.

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Despite their 14-man brush with disaster last Sunday, Jim Gavin’s men remain 4/11 favourites to complete the historic Drive for Five in normal time the next day.

The prospect of another 70-minute draw, requiring extra-time, is still seen as an 11/1 long shot, according to BoyleSports.

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